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Kevin Mirallas fuels Everton exit rumours by delaying talks about his future

And so it begins......

Ian Walton/Getty Images

This is your early warning, prepare yourselves for Kevin Mirallas' departure in the summer.

Nothing is set in stone, yet, but his latest comments in an interview with the Liverpool Echo suggests he may well be leaving the club in the summer.

The Belgian will enter the final 12 months of his contract next season so Everton will look to either get him signed up to a long-term deal this summer or sell him while he can still command a transfer fee.

Mirallas meanwhile must decide whether he wants to commit the peak years of his career with the Toffees or seek a move elsewhere.

The 27-year-old has always spoken of his desire to play in the Champions League again (he's certainly good enough) and with qualification looking unlikely this year - bar a miraculous Europa League triumph - he may well look to move on.

Preliminary discussions have already taken place earlier this year but have since stopped - perhaps linked to Everton's slide in form? Who knows, but this is what Kevin has had to say:

"I don’t feel any problem with my situation. I’ve spoken very well with the manager and the chairman, and there is no"problem.

"The best thing, for me and for the team, is that I finish the season well. Then after that I will go away on holiday, and when I come back we will talk about my situation.

"But like I say, the most important thing in the meantime is to play well for the team."

To me that sounds like footballers speak for "I'm off in the summer". If he really wanted to stay he would have signed a new deal by now.

Should Everton somehow make the Champions League or give promises of serious investment in the summer to mount a sustained top four challenge next year then Mirallas may well decide to stay on - after all his next contract is likely to be the biggest he will earn in his career.

Sadly, given their current woes and his recent comments I can't see Everton doing enough to convince Mirallas to sign on for another 3-4 years, especially if their track record is anything to go by.

His departure would be a bitter blow, especially after watching his exhilarating performance at Upton Park on Tuesday. However, life will go on, and just as we recovered from the departures of likes of Wayne Rooney, Mikel Arteta and Marouane Fellaini down the years so we must rebuild in the summer should Mirallas be sold.